Algonquian conference offers opportunity  

By Karen Herland

Having the Algonquian Conference at Concordia is great timing according to Manon Tremblay, the coordinator of the Centre for Native Education.

Having finally settled into new digs in the Hall Building, the centre is poised to offer more to the 160 First Nations, Inuit and Métis students at Concordia. Since 1992, the centre has offered academic support, along with computers, a documentation centre and study/meeting space.

Morning Star, an elder at the Centre for Native Education, participates in a weekly beading session. Magnifying glass

Morning Star, an elder at the Centre for Native Education, participates in a weekly beading session.

“Our focus is on supporting academic achievement. We want to remove obstacles and help students stay the course.” As of last year, they inaugurated five Concordia bursaries specifically for the students they serve.

Concordia is also gearing up to offer a program in First Peoples Studies. The proposal has been evaluated by CREPUQ and although details remain to be ironed out, plans are moving forward through the School of Community and Public Affairs.

The annual Algonquian Conference has never been held here before. Presenters represent a range of disciplines such as political science, sociology, education and history.

“Two hundred people from a variety of fields are going to be here for a scholarly conference,” said Tremblay. “It’s great exposure for our students or those considering the field.”

Algonquian remains the largest First Peoples group in Canada, stretching from Labrador to the Rocky Mountains and from the Northwest Territories south into the U.S.

Tremblay herself is studying linguistics, which, it turns out, is a major focus for many of the researchers who will attend the conference. The Algonquian group includes 30 distinct languages. “I get to meet a lot of the people whose books and articles I have read.”

Tremblay explained that of the 11 Aboriginal languages spoken in Quebec, eight are Algonquian. “The largest Algonquian language spoken in Quebec is the Cree-Naskapi-Innu complex.”

The conference begins with a reception Oct. 29 and continues through to Nov. 1. For more information, or to register, contact Tremblay by email.


Concordia University